Drive to Collect CDs Proves Successful For Resident Artist

Conway is bringing in the Monticello-based artist Alice Guffey Miller to ArtsFest this year to create a sculpture made predominantly of recycled CDs and DVDs, and UCA’s College of Fine Arts and Communication is helping collect them.

ArtsFest, Conway’s annual, weeklong tribute to art in all forms, is excited to include Miller’s recycle- themed artwork as a main attraction this year. With collection centers set up around campus and throughout Conway, ArtsFest committee members and volunteers hoped to get up to 3,000 CDs and DVDs to contribute to Miller’s interactive public sculpture. The artwork will be partially constructed before ArtsFest and placed in the fountain in Simon Park where, during ArtsFest, community members will be invited to provide the finishing touches.

“The best kind of public art is the kind where lots of people participate…and you can create a groundswell of community interest [in art],” College of Fine Arts and Communication Associate Dean Gayle Seymour said. “This is one of these projects. It takes a lot of guts to think you can collect that many CDs.”

The results were surpassed, to say the least.

“I think I have enough CDs,” Miller said in a quote from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s article. “I just received 4,000 today. Goodwill Industries of Arkansas in Little Rock donated 3,000 and B&L Drywall and Acoustics of Conway gave me 1,000.”

To make the preliminary outline for the sculpture, Miller has created a 10-foot Styrofoam column recycled from two previous works on which she will arrange the CDs and DVDs in a spiral pattern. She will also incorporate hundreds of prisms collected from a Conway restaurant’s chandelier, adding to the reflection in the CDs and the fountain’s water. The final touches will involve community participation with CDs and DVDs weighted with colored glass to be placed at the sculpture’s base.

“At ArtsFest, [Miller] will ask people to write their vision for Conway on [the CDs]and they will become part of the sculpture,” Seymour said. “They’ll have a voice and a way to make that voice heard. I think we’ll find that people have more in common than they have differences.”

The recycling focus surrounding Miller’s statue and promoting environmental awareness aligns with ArtsFest’s S.T.E.A.M. theme this year, which adds “art” into the popular acronym S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering and math).

“Artists are a valuable commodity in a community,” Seymour said. “They have the ability to turn a pile of junk into something beautiful and meaningful.”

To further the theme, ArtsFest is teaming up with EcoFest this year. The statue will moved Laurel Park on Oct. 10 for EcoFest.

After EcoFest, the statue will move again to the Metro Square Plaza fountain, where it will remain for about a year before Miller comes back to collect the materialstouseinanotherproject. ArtsFest is set for Sept. 26 – Oct. 3.

For a list of scheduled events and volunteer opportunities, visit or contact Beth Norwood at beth.wilson. [email protected].

Miller’s involvement in ArtsFest is funded by a grant from the Arkansas Arts Council Arts on Tour and by contributions from Salter Properties.

This article originally appeared in the Sept. 16, 2015 print edition of The Echo.

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